Prayers are powerful tool for saying our requests to God. But, how do we know that our prayers are heard? Is there a correct way of prayer or is it only a form of memorized words uttered by our lips? In this topic, we discuss about the right manner of prayer taught by the Bible. It is from the book of the Lord, we can be sure that when we pray, God will hear it and “whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him.” (1 John 3:22)
If there is anyone that can teach us the correct way of communicating with God, it is the Lord Jesus Christ. As mentioned in the Bible, Jesus is the Master- teacher (Matthew 23:8) and Apostle Paul explained that He is the “the power of God, and the wisdom of God” (1 Corinthians 1: 24), therefore Jesus Christ knows everything because He possess the wisdom and power of God.
Being a Master, Christ taught everything to the Apostles while He was still here on earth. He even told them to bring the Gospel to all nations and advised them “Teach them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28: 19-20)
This was explained further by Apostle Paul, that all things he wrote were all commandments of the Lord.
1Co 14:37 If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.
This is the reason why Paul advised the members of the church to study what is written in the book of the Lord, but warned them not to think above what is written.
1Co 4:6 And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another.
Paul defines prayer as letting our requests be known unto God, but through prayers and petitions we must always extend our thanksgiving and praises, and not only requests.
Php 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
We pray to God, the Father and the only true God, Creator of everything. We don’t pray to anything that is only made by hands of men like David said in his songs. We don’t pray to idols, we pray through spirit because we know God is spirit.
Psa 115:4 Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands.
Psa 115:5 They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not:
Psa 115:6 They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not:
Psa 115:7 They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat.
Psa 115:8 They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them.
The Bible says there is nothing that people can get from those idols and images that they pray into.
Hab 2:18 What profiteth the graven image that the maker thereof hath graven it; the molten image, and a teacher of lies, that the maker of his work trusteth therein, to make dumb idols?
Christ told us the manner of prayer through the Apostles. Nowadays, it is called the “Lord’s Prayer” and many people, especially Christians know how to say it. He taught us the manner of a righteous prayer when He said, “Our Father in heaven, holy be your name…” From this, we learn that we pray not to anyone, not to any person or saints but to the “Father” alone who is in Heaven.
The prayer is actually a step by step guide on how to say our prayers. It is not meant to be the prayer but a manner of prayer that can be a useful tool for communicating with the Father. From the teaching of Jesus, we address God as our Father. This means we are like His sons and daughters. He wants us to reach out through Him, not scared or anything but a loving Father to us that is always ready to hear our prayers and petitions. And since He wants us to treat Him as Father, we must always say our prayers with utmost respect and humility.
And then, we can say our requests, (Matthew 6: 9 – 13) and this includes asking Him for forgiveness in all our transgressions. But there are elements of prayer not mentioned in these verses but were later taught by Jesus. All Prayers must be ask through His name – John 16: 23 “Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.” Apostle Paul adds that all prayers of requests should always be accompanied with praises and thanksgiving (Philippians 4:6). And when we pray and ask God for something, always believe that we will receive it from Him. This is the most important part of prayer-the “act of faith.” Mar 11:24 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.
Since we are talking with God through prayers, we learned that although He wants us to reach out for Him and treat Him as our loving father, we should always place our utmost respect in saying our prayers, not only through the words that comes out of our lips, but through the movements of our body parts.
Early worshipers showed their manners of praying and were written for us to imitate. the highest for of respect that we can give to our almighty God is through kneeling and bowing down.
Psa 95:6 O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker.
From the Greek word H3766 – כּרע – kâra‛, the meaning of bowing down is to “bend the knee;” “by implication to sink, to prostrate:” – bow (down, self), bring down (low), cast down, couch, fall, feeble, kneeling, sink, smite (stoop) down, subdue, X very.
In the time of the Apostles, kneeling down to pray were done in assemblies or gatherings of the congregation or the church members. Act 20:36 And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all.
It is also permitted that prayers can be done in standing positions. Mar 11:24 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. Mar 11:25 And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.
Not only the movements of the body were taught when we pray to God. Jesus Christ also taught us that what is inside our hearts were what matters most to God. We can be in a most respectful position, but if our hearts are not ready to talk with the Lord, then our prayers will not be righteous. This is the reason why Jesus condemned the prayers of the “hypocrites of society.” They pray just to show that they are praying, and love so much that people see them praying in the synagogues. (Matthew 6: 5-8)
Praying is an intimate practice between a faithful and God, except of course with the congregational assemblies. Praying in public is not condemned by Jesus, it is the manner of how they do their prayers that is condemned.
From here, we found also that vain repetitive prayers were condemned by Christ. Take note that it is not wrong to pray repeatedly, what is wrong is the “VAIN REPETITIONS.” Praying repeatedly is what God wants us to do…to pray unceasingly…to pray always…. (Luke 18:1; 1 Thessalonians 5: 17)
King David prayed to God in the morning, noon and in the night. Psa 55:17 Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice. He cried for prayers in the day and in the night time. Psa 88:1 O LORD God of my salvation, I have cried day and night before thee:
Psa 88:2 Let my prayer come before thee: incline thine ear unto my cry;
Jas 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
Praying to God is an effective way of reaching out to the Lord and having a good relationship with Him. Through fervent prayers, we can be healed by God and grant our requests. Fervent means showing high energy. In prayers, God wants us to see that we are really intense in praying, especially when giving praises and thanksgiving and saying our requests too.
But how do we know that God hears our prayers?
1Jn 3:22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.
If we pray to God with all intense, hope and faith that we will receive whatever we ask Him, then we believe also that we will receive those things…. But there is a provision here, we can only receive whatever we ask Him if we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight. Be careful on what we pray, it should always be right and just in the eyes of God and not always for ourselves.
If we continue praying without following this basic principle, don’t expect that God will hear our prayers…